Phil stood in his kitchen, looking down at the table. On it were spread five bowls; four held different types of mushrooms, and the last held a two blocks of cream cheese.
The challenge: combine the two into something delicious for a dinner party.
The further challenge: Phil didn’t eat mushrooms.
He had nothing against the fungus. In his younger days, he had loved it when his parents fried the mushrooms in butter, tossed them lightly with a bit of salt and garlic powder, and served them with steak or tofu.
Now, though, there was a dearth of artisanal mushrooms, and Phil’s diet wouldn’t let him eat normal things.
The plain little white mushrooms were around, along with portabello and cremini and chanterelle – the only ones he had found in the store – but none were artisinally grown, and he hadn’t found any of the like in the past three years of looking, since he had started his more healthful diet.
The Artisinal Diet – a construct of Whole Foods nutritionists who had completed several courses in university-level naturopathic nutrition through online education programs – was the latest trend, and Phil, in need of some defining characteristic, had adopted it from the outset. The difficulty in finding artisanal foods was his greatest challenge, but he had managed it through expensive shops and willing farmers.
But mushrooms remained plain mushrooms, and he had been assigned them for the potluck.
He stared at his mushrooms, hoping that, with the combination of the artisanal cream cheese and the mixing of four different mushrooms together, he could call this an artisanal spread for the artisanal pita he had sliced and baked into chips.
He grabbed his knife and started chopping careful, the way The Artisanal Chef cookbook told him.